Ace leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy’s good performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) was rewarded on Monday when the selectors picked him as the lone new face in the Indian T20 squad for the upcoming tour of Australia.
Chakravarthy, 29 and a professional architect, has so far bagged 12 wickets, including a five-wicket haul, in 10 IPL games for Kolkata Knight Riders, and impressed one and all.
The selectors elevated Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul to India vice-captaincy of the T20 as well as ODI teams, and he is the main wicket-keeper in both formats. Besides, he is also in the Test squad.
The Australia tour will comprise three Twenty20 Internationals, three One-day Internationals, and four Test matches, expected to be played between November 27 and January 19. The official itinerary is yet to be announced.
The selectors picked a total of 28 players for the three squads, out of which seven find place in all three squads. They are Virat Kohli, who was named captain across formats, Mayank Agarwal, Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Navdeep Saini.
“The selection committee met via video-conference on Monday to select the Indian cricket team for the upcoming Tour of Australia. Team India will take part in three T20Is, three ODIs and four Test matches against Australia,” said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a statement.
Interestingly, batting mainstay Rohit Sharma, who is currently leading Mumbai Indians in the IPL in the United Arab Emirates, and senior speedster Ishant Sharma do not find places in any squad. It is now known what kind of injury Rohit is carrying. He has missed a few MI matches due to this injury, but former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Monday said on TV that Rohit reportedly practised at nets.
In any case, the Test series in likely to begin only on December 17 – a little less than two months away — under lights in Adelaide. So, it is all the more surprising that the opening batsman did not find a place at least in the Test squad.
“The BCCI medical team will continue to monitor the progress of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma,” the BCCI said.
Interestingly, wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant did not find a place either in the T20 squad or the ODI team, though he is in the Test squad as the backup wicket-keeper. Wriddhiman Saha is the first choice stumper.
Rahul is in both T20 and ODI squads while Sanju Samson, who is also having a fine IPL for Rajasthan Royals (326 runs in 12 matches), is the wicket-keeper in the T20 team.
The BCCI said that four additional bowlers — Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T. Natarajan – would travel with the Indian contingent to Australia.
T20I: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy
ODI: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur
Test: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant (wicket-keepers), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj